The Modern “Medication Generation” –Learned to Say Yes To Drugs

by | Aug 31, 2012

“Medication Generation”, a term coined by Kaitlin Bell Barnett, author of Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up, describes a generation commonly labeled “disordered” and medicated as children — being sent to the school nurse not for stomach aches or playground injuries, but for their daily meds. Now as adults, they believe that widespread mental illness is a fact of life, and that anyone with mental disorders should take their medicine. With an ever widening application of “ADD” and “ADHD” to children with short attention spans, high activity levels, and difficulty sitting still or concentrating, prescriptions for “treating” these childhood “diseases” soared. A report from 2008 states, “Today, 4 million children begin their school day by taking a small yellow pill, Ritalin, to control their hyperactivity. Since 1990, there has been a 700% increase in the use of the stimulant. And more than 2.5 million prescriptions for anti-depressants were written for pre-schoolers and adolescents.” Investigative Reports: Generation Rx – Reading, Writing, and Ritalin: Bill Kurtis: Movies & TV
If the labeling and drugging of children were a correct solution, would they not improve children’s lives and schooling? Yes they would, but statistics say otherwise:
Children diagnosed with ADHD have significant difficulties in adolescence, regardless of treatment.[154][155]
In the United States, 37 percent of those with ADHD do not get a high school diploma even though many of them will receive special education services. [156]
A 1995 briefing citing a 1994 book review says the combined outcomes of the expulsion and dropout rates indicate that almost half of all ADHD students never finish high school. [157]
Also in the US, less than 5 percent of individuals with ADHD get a college degree [158] compared to 28 percent of the general population. [159]
The proportion of children meeting the diagnostic criteria for ADHD drops by about 50 percent over three years after the diagnosis. This occurs regardless of the treatments used and also occurs in untreated children with ADHD. [127][160][161]Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Making children believe they are mentally ill, and need a pill to behave well, creates the belief that they are not responsible for their actions and that true self control is not possible. Further, medicating so many school children has provided clinical evidence of the many harmful effects of drugs like Ritalin, a stimulant classified with other addictive drugs like cocaine. Ritalin (methylphenidate) Side Effects and Warnings. Ritalin has been found to halt brain cell development, stunt skull and body growth, decrease appetite, and disrupt sleep — all destructive to a growing child. Even worse, stimulants affect the heart by overworking it. With long term use the child’s heart muscles can become so enlarged that it can and has resulted in death.
With legalized drug advertising and faster routes for bringing drugs to market, prescribing to children became even more rampant. Though new stronger drugs called “anti-psychotics” were not tested or approved by the FDA for children, they are being prescribed “off-label” to them for everything from ADHD to emotional displays. Children, just like adults, have emotional reactions to life; but now they cannot exhibit them without a teacher or parent considering them mentally ill. Foster children have been particularly susceptible to labeling and drugging. Without parental love and support, these children naturally exhibit upset at their homeless situation. Rather than provide loving environments, state-appointed psychiatrists add insult to injury by quickly labeling despondent or upset children as “disordered”, claiming the child’s brain, not his environment, is out of order. Recent investigations by media and US Congress allowed foster children to speak up about wrong labels, their bags full of meds, and difficulties staying awake in school while in a drugged state. Their emotional turmoil and extreme behaviors subsided when weened off drugs by loving foster parents, proving their initial diagnoses invalid, and drugging to be unnecessary. Foster Kids Prescribed Psychotropic Drugs | Video – ABC News
Underlying all of this medicating is a claim that these disorders are chemical malfunctions of the brain. No scientific proof exists to support this. To the contrary, studies show that in response to psychotropic drugs, the body tries to re-adjust brain chemicals which have been altered. For example, serotonin levels are raised by drugs like Prozac which stop it from being re-absorbed naturally. The body’s reaction is to lower its production of serotonin. Later, when a person is pulled off the drug (often because of destructive side effects), a chemical imbalance exists that was drug-induced. It is simply false that a generation was born deficient in medication. “Psychiatric Medications Are Like Insulin for Diabetes” (Big Lie #3) | After Psychotherapy
Natural ways to school children exist; and if searched for, can be found. One such method is Maria Montessori’s learning environment, allowing freedom of movement rather than stifling desk-sitting. Hands-on learning materials help children understand their world, coordinate their bodies, and practice manipulating the physical environment. Children in this environment are focused and well-behaved. Montessori, herself a medical doctor and later awarded the title of “psychiatrist”, never found it necessary to medicate children in her schools. Another alternative model is the Sudbury Valley School, which fosters the natural goodness, interest, initiative and cooperativeness in children, who, rather than being detached and drugged, grow up to be engaged, productive individuals in society.
The activity of raising children is just as vital today as ever. But its pitfalls now include schools where teachers seem more intent on medicating than educating, and where sleep-deprived, crazed students may act out drug-induced violence. An antisocial drug dealer lurking near the playground is no longer the only danger. Social pressures currently include teachers, parents and friends who say, “Take your Meds!” The new medication generation has not been taught to “Say No To Drugs”, but rather a big “Yes”.

1 Comment

  1. Kaitlin Bell Barnett

    Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up tells the stories of young people-myself included-who began taking psychotropics as children and teens. If you’re curious to hear their version(s) of the story, please check out the book.


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